“So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees, And said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea…” (1 Kings 18:42-43a)
When severely pressing needs inundate, where do we look? The above passage refers to Elijah praying against a severe drought, and “a sore famine in Samaria” (18:2). He chides the people, decrying their double-mindedness in verse 21: “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.”
Baal was an ancient Syro-Canaanite god of harvest and abundance. It must have been tempting—in an agrarian society, no less—to worship a deity that would have promised that which God would have given freely (and as little more than a side-effect to His love and Presence). That mistake would necesarily have kept Him from doing that very thing. Blessing the people. Doubt and double-mindnedness are two things that hamper and potentially halt the receiving of our needs from God. Many, many times throughout the gospels does Jesus qualify answered prayer with “doubt not”. It might be a natural recourse to doubt, but then again, how natural is faith? If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed…
“Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul.” (Psalm 69:1)
Desperation can cause us to do things that we’d never have done had circumstances been kinder. Desperation can cause us to quit and run away (good luck with that) or they can cause us to see God as our only way out. It isn’t that God caused the circumstances but He surely knows how to deliver us in the midst of them.
“And he went up (Elijah’s servant), and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he (Elijah) said, Go again seven times.” (1 Kings 18:43b)
Sure, things might look bleak. You might look out for your answer as many times as the thought crosses your troubled mind and not see it. It’s coming. The (good) storm clouds are coming. And after whatever period of trial and/or suffering that you endure is past, you’ll start to sense a change in the wind. This is a very important stage. Here’s why: “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7) The whole point of the trial was to both strengthen your faith in God’s provision, but also to dissolve your confidence in the traditional forms of provision. Sure, insurance is important. It’s against the law to drive around without car insurance (really, it’s for the other driver). And health insurance certainly takes a load off. But there are deeper channels of walking in God’s Spirit that would have the bedrock of our trust be in Him first with reliance on these other forms of protection and provision as secondary, tertiary even. And God is not a crutch. Anything that we look to first, other than God, is the crutch. If said crutch get’s knocked out from under you, and all you have is God’s strength to get back up, then you’re in a better place than you were prior to being knocked down.
“My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him.” (Psalm 62:5) Easy to say. Impossible to live without invitation.
“And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said (Elijah’s servant), Behold there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not. And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain…” (1 Kings 18:44-45)
The slightest indicator is a sign that all the beauty of God for your life is on its way. But it’s also a sign that God trusts you enough to send the rain, the blessing. Don’t let Him down by going back to the way you were living before the cycle and drought began. Let the rain wash over your life and leave the fields ready for planting, growing and harvest.
“Pray withou ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) It’ll take as long as it takes, but know that it’s already on it’s way.